The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a series of standardized exams that are designed to determine if an individual knows enough about a particular subject to receive college credit for that subject without actually taking a college course. The CLEP, which is designed and administered by the College Board, consists of 33 examinations, and each examination tests a different area of knowledge. These examinations test an individual’s knowledge of such subjects as American government, American literature, biology, business law, calculus, chemistry, college-level algebra, college-level writing, economics, English literature, financial accounting, French, German, history and social studies, history of the Western world, information systems, management, marketing, pre-calculus, psychology, sociology, U.S. history, and a number of other similar subjects. Each examination requires an individual to answer somewhere from 44 to 140 multiple-choice and/or fill-in questions related to the subject that the exam covers. Most of the exams require an individual to answer between 75 and 100 multiple-choice questions, but the mathematics exams are typically shorter because they include fill-in questions. The college-level writing exams, which are known as the College Composition Exam and the College Composition Modular Exam, also require an individual to write one or two essays. The American Literature Exam also includes an essay section, but an individual is required to complete the section only if his or her college requires it.
In most cases, you will not be required to take the examinations in the College Level Examination Program unless you choose to do so. This is because most universities do not require an individual to take the exams in the CLEP series in order to start an undergraduate program, but instead allow an individual to take the examinations in order to earn credit for college courses that the individual would normally be required to take. It is important to note, however, that the exams in the CLEP series are not the only exams that a school may offer credit for and that there are some colleges and universities that may require an individual to take other placement exams in addition to or instead of the exams in the CLEP series to earn college credit. It is also important to note that the exams in the CLEP series are typically less difficult than most of the other standardized exams that an individual may be required to take, but they are still relatively difficult, with the average person taking the exam choosing the correct answer approximately 60% to 70% of the time.
Like other standardized tests, the exams in the CLEP series are scored on a scale, and you will receive a score of 20-80 for each CLEP exam that you choose to take. The exact score that an individual must achieve on a CLEP exam to receive college credit can vary from school to school, but the average score that a student entering an accounting school must achieve to receive credit is typically between 50 and 60. The number of credits that an individual will receive for achieving a passing score on a particular exam will vary from school to school, but most schools offer between 3 and 6 credits for all of the exams with the exception of the foreign language exams, which typically earn between 3 and 12 credits.